How renegade sci-fi writers of the 1960s paved the way for today's blending of literary and genre fiction [more inside]
"Whatever may be the merits of the spring fashions for 1978, it would appear to have been universal (to speak of the future in the past tense), for both these young gallants are dressed precisely alike. Of the three remaining designs, that of 1984 appears to us to exhibit the contour of the lady's figure most generously, and to have certain agreeable and distinctive traits of its own which are not only lacking in the gentleman's apparel, but are absent from the inane conception which appears to have obtained vogue five years later." -- Future Dictates of Fashion, as imagined in an 1893 issue of Strand Magazine. Click on the illustrations to enlarge them. (In general, Marcus Rowland's Forgotten Futures website is a treasure trove of Victoriana and steampunk related material.)
A detailed, completely mental, somewhat plausible scheme for how a Guaranteed Minimum Income would work.
"These discussions are thoughtful and measured, but the premise that frames them all is shaky; Lessig doesn't offer much proof that a Soviet-style loss of privacy and freedom is on its way. … Unlike actual law, Internet software has no capacity to punish. It doesn't affect people who aren't online (and only a tiny minority of the world population is). And if you don't like the Internet's system, you can always flip off the modem." — David Pogue is the creator of the ''Missing Manual'' series, which will include guides to Mac OS 9, Outlook Express and Windows 2000.
Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future. But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists. In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology. Accompanying Guardian post on uncertainty being the only certainty.
The author of a new book on how rising oil prices will change America makes the claims that higher gasoline prices will make the country healthier and safer. Christopher Steiner asserts that, for every $1 that gasoline prices rise, obesity rates drop by 10% (as people walk more and eat out less). As for "safer", that comes in when high gasoline prices force police out of their cruisers and onto bicycles and foot patrols, where they can interact more closely with their communities. [more inside]
For years, Wired magazine has tapped a bevy of designers and artists in the tech field to craft detailed visions of futuristic objects for a monthly showcase at the close of each issue. Now, after hinting as much in the July edition, it is clear that that the tradition of FOUND has been brought to an end. What better way to say goodbye to this whimsical feature than by taking a look back at the full archived run of the series? [more inside]
The Cabinet Office in the UK has published "Future Strategic Challenges for Britain" [full pdf, summary pdf, website], a 180-page document which summarises current futures thinking in the UK Government, with a horizon of about 20 years. It includes predictions on big issues such as democratic participation, foreign affairs, climate change, family life and public services.
In the year 1900, Ladies Home Journal writer John Elfreth Watkins Jr wrote an article entitled What May Happen In The Next 100 Years". This is apparently what the most learned, conservative men of the "greatest institutions of science and learning" had to say about the coming hundred years.
So you know all those worms that have been circulating recently? Well, turns out that they mean that the Internet has failed. (via the Obscure Store)